The International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15th each year, is a global observance that underscores the importance of democracy as a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of good governance and peace. Established in 2007 by a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), this day serves as a reminder of the essential role that democracy plays in shaping societies worldwide.
What is Democracy?
Democracy, derived from the Greek words ‘demos’ (meaning a citizen of a city-state) and ‘kratos’ (meaning ‘power’ or ‘rule’ form of government), is a core value of the United Nations. It encompasses principles such as respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the practice of holding periodic and genuine elections through universal suffrage. At its core, democracy empowers citizens to elect their leaders and actively participate in decision-making processes that impact their lives.
2023 Theme: Empowering the Next Generation
The theme for the International Day of Democracy in 2023 is “Empowering the next generation.” This theme highlights the pivotal role that young people play in advancing democracy and emphasizes the importance of including their voices in decisions that profoundly affect their world. Recognizing and nurturing the engagement of youth in democratic processes is crucial for the future of democracy.
Significance of International Day of Democracy
The United Nations recognizes that democracy is not just a destination but a continuous process. The International Day of Democracy provides an annual opportunity to assess the state of democracy globally. It emphasizes that the ideal of democracy can only be realized with the full participation and support of the international community, national governing bodies, civil society, and individuals.
Celebration of International Day of Democracy
Every year, events and activities are organized worldwide to mark the International Day of Democracy. These events often focus on the designated theme while consistently promoting and upholding democratic values. The United Nations, along with various organizations, hosts conferences, discussions, and seminars to engage the global community in dialogue about democracy’s vital role in our societies.
History and Origins
The roots of the International Day of Democracy can be traced back to the Universal Declaration on Democracy, adopted on September 15, 1997, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), an international organization of national parliaments. Subsequently, Qatar led efforts to promote the establishment of an International Day of Democracy. Finally, on November 8, 2007, the UNGA adopted a resolution titled “Support by United Nations system of efforts of governments to promote and consolidate new or restored democracies” by consensus, thereby formalizing the day.
Commemorating the Declaration
To commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Democracy, the IPU suggested celebrating the International Day of Democracy on September 15, exactly ten years later. The first such celebration took place in 2008, and since then, it has become an annual occasion to reaffirm our commitment to democratic values and principles.
In conclusion, the International Day of Democracy is not merely a celebration but a call to action. It underscores the significance of democracy in safeguarding human rights, fostering civic engagement, and ensuring peace and stability across the globe. This day serves as a reminder that democracy is a continuous process, and it is essential to empower the next generation to shape a more democratic and inclusive future.